Let's just call my attempt to use Google Reader for a week, uhm, "misguided" and move on, shall we? It failed for exactly the reasons that several of you mentioned.

On a whim, I decided to poke at Bloglines a bit (it had been a few years) and in doing so realized that it's exactly what I wanted.

Now back to your regularly scheduled... uh, whatever you read this for. :-)

Posted by jzawodn at July 10, 2006 02:10 PM

Reader Comments
# Tom Simpson said:

It looks like you're trying out the "online" feed readers, but if you're not limiting yourself to using an online reader, you might want to try GreatNews (http://www.curiostudio.com).

I was using SharpReader for quite a while, but after trying GreatNews, I tossed it to the side. I have just over 1400 feeds, and it handles them nicely.

Using the "simple" style and a scroll wheel, I can quickly go through all of them with only one click. You can also set update schedules for each feed or group. (No affiliation - just a happy user)

on July 10, 2006 02:36 PM
# Rubin110 said:

I really like Bloglines. Even though I favore the LiveJournal style of everything sorted by date together (which is how the Google Reader works), Bloglines is sleek and simple. The Firefox plugins make is a joy to add feeds and get a notification when there are updates. Also it is the ONLY reader I've found that doesn't suck on mobile devices. It even gives you the option to keep some feeds hidden from the mobile view.

The only issue I have is clicking a link to display 50something items, only to have my net connection (DSL at home or GPRS on the road) crap out during load. Bloglines automagicly sets all the items to read and doesn't display them again, unless you do a display everything in the past 6 hours option.

on July 10, 2006 02:38 PM
# Chris said:

I just use Netvibes to follow my feeds.

Although I don't follow hundreds of feeds, you can organize them all onto pages, and easily mark all as read (if that's the problem). Works for me; might not work for others.

Their "ecosystem" allows you to do a lot more than just follow feeds (follow world cup, calendar stuff, weather, email, comics, whatever).

on July 10, 2006 02:53 PM
# joe said:

full agreement here. I've gone to GReader 2 or 3 times and each attempt has lasted less than 1 day. I've really tried to like it, but it sorely misses out on the biggest advantage of bloglines - being able to read dozen's of feeds and hundreds of unread items in seconds/minutes. I'm somewhat obsessive about my blog reading and I cannot stand to have unread items when, for example, I go to bed, or after lunch or whatever. In bloglines, I just click on my "tech" folder (which I always keep collapsed anyway, because I don't really care which feeds in particular have new items), 50-60 unread news items will come up in the right pane, I'll scroll quickly, load 10-15 tabs in the background and be done with it. With GReader i would NEVER get through that many items if I had to read the headlines one-at-a-frickin-time.

To be sure, bloglines is NOT pretty. I think it could use a nice redesign, some styling options, and maybe a little AJAX magic wouldn't hurt. But as far as functionality and productivity, it can't be beat.

on July 10, 2006 02:55 PM
# Chris said:

That's why I don't use Bloglines -- it's just ugly. That and the fact that I don't have to manage too many feeds (~40).

on July 10, 2006 03:02 PM
# Pat said:

The latest Flock beta has a very Bloglines-esque news reader in it that you might also check out.

on July 10, 2006 03:09 PM
# Somah said:

I tried lots of online readers and Bloglines by far was the best.

on July 10, 2006 03:09 PM
# Seth said:

"Also it is the ONLY reader I've found that doesn't suck on mobile devices. It even gives you the option to keep some feeds hidden from the mobile view."

Have you tried NewsGator's mobile HTML version? Yeah, it's for paid customers only but a NetNewsWire or FeedDemon subscription takes care of that. NewsGator also lets you pare down your feed list for the mobile client (or any client - you can set up multiple custom locations). I tried BLoglines on my Treo but hated it. NewsGator certainly isn't perfect but it's the best mobile HTML reader for me right now.

Not a paid shill, just a happy customer.

on July 10, 2006 03:26 PM
# Dave Dash said:

LOL, this is funny. I looked at Google Reader and I thought... ah, Google... bad usability that looks usable.

Good choice with bloglines, I use it with Net News Wire myself.

on July 10, 2006 03:49 PM
# Fruminator said:

Hey, check out the GPL'd feed-reader software at http://reblog.org

it's LAMP and you have to install it yourself (like wordpress), but it's been developed (by me and others) for a couple years with power-reading in mind. Lifehacker did a good write up at: http://www.lifehacker.com/software/feature/how-to-set-up-reblog-killer-server-side-feed-reader-160825.php


on July 10, 2006 03:59 PM
# soxiam said:

I agree with you that Bloglines does one thing and does it very well: readability. The interface is simple, the item titles are big, and the experience is totally devoid of AJAX BS, tagging (Rojo does gets this right), feed recommendations, ranking, etc. If your ultimate goal is to quickly scan through the feeds you subscribe to (turns out this isn't enough for some folks out there) then Bloglines wins hands down.

on July 10, 2006 04:08 PM
# Cliff said:

Hmmmm how did I know your attempt with GReader would fail? C'mon, the pretty interface just can't cover the SLOWEST reader on the planet.

And I'll give a thumbs up to Rojo.com. I tried half a dozen last month and settled on Rojo. Not too much, not too little...just right.

For me anyway.

on July 10, 2006 04:19 PM
# Dossy Shiobara said:

Funny, I thought you joined the Bloglines cult long ago. I've been using it daily for what, at least a year or two now?

Now, if I could *only* motivate to finish up my Bloglines-to-IMAP gateway--which I plan to use to read my Bloglines subscriptions offline in Thunderbird--life would be complete.

on July 10, 2006 04:21 PM
# Daryn said:

The best part of Bloglines are the keyboard shortcuts. I really like bloglines for the most part, but I only have about 80 feeds, so it's not particularly hard to manage.

on July 10, 2006 04:47 PM
# Adam Messinger said:

I had the exact same dilemma, so I ended up writing an RSS->IMAP gateway. This lets me read blogs in Mail.app (but any mail client would obviously work). I've put it up online at www.feedmailr.com. Email me for an account.

on July 10, 2006 04:48 PM
# Marcus said:

I've tried tonnes of online readers, including self-hosted ones, and Bloglines is the one I always go back to. It may be ugly as sin but it works exactly how I need it to.

on July 10, 2006 06:53 PM
# wujimon said:

I was a big fan of bloglines for quite some time but after a while, it started to feel kinda slow. Since then, and after listening to a podcast on TalkCrunch regarding online feed readers, I decided to give rojo a whirl. I've been using it for about 2 weeks now and I can honestly say I've cut down my feed reading time by about 30%. I attribute this to having it default to only showing titles and the ability to "mark as read" for a particular tag. This really came in handy if I accidently went to another tag/folder and lost my previous session of unread items (happened multiple times in bloglines). So far, I'm happy and will continue to use rojo cuz it's got mad mojo.. hehe :)

on July 10, 2006 07:11 PM
# Karl said:

My only issues with Bloglines:

1. API doesn't include methods to add/remove subscriptions.

2. It doesn't provide me with a 'River Of News' style display where, instead of scrolling a page comprised of feeds and their latest updates, I could scroll a single page of latest updates, with indicators for feed.

That's about it.

on July 10, 2006 07:13 PM
# Saravanan said:

I tried google reader when it was launched. I didnt like it. So I went to bloglines. Three months ago, like you I also tried google reader for a week. I started liking it and was using it along with bloglines. Now google reader is my primary feed reader and am not using bloglines now. You may try google reader for some more time. It grows on you.

on July 10, 2006 07:17 PM
# Jason Schramm said:

I've been using Bloglines for a while now, and it has revolutionized my ability to follow news. Instead of visiting sites I can just read the news in Bloglines and then visit sites when I need to expand on something. The problem is that it becomes a lot to manage, and I wind up trimming down my subscriptions and missing news.

on July 10, 2006 08:25 PM
# Exposure said:

Please tell us why you stopped...
"As a number of you mentioned" is too broad.

I personally haven't used Google Reader for long either, just for a few days until I decided I could develop something better myself (so I did, for personal use)... but it feels like that was a year ago, maybe it was. So I'd be interested in hearing your own critique - directly.

on July 10, 2006 08:31 PM
# Krish said:

I have been using Netvibes for a while. It is pretty decent.

on July 10, 2006 08:33 PM
# Bethany said:

A few months ago, I tried about every web aggregator under the sun. I also settled with bloglines. It's too bad I didn't keep track of the different aggregators, because a comparison would be a great blog entry.

A web aggregator is a must for me. I constantly switch between computers so I don't want to use a desktop program.

on July 11, 2006 05:10 AM
# Kevan said:

NetVibes. Definitely check it out.

on July 11, 2006 08:23 AM
# Geof F. Morris said:

Okay, so maybe I'm a shill, but I'd encourage you to try FeedLounge [.com] if you're prowling around the marketplace. Yes, Bloglines is good enough for most folks, and yes, FL has flaws like everyone else, but it's what I use, and I'm happy.


on July 11, 2006 09:24 AM
# Michael Biven said:

+1 for FeedLounge. After using Bloglines and a few different desktop readers I still find it to fit my needs the best.

on July 11, 2006 09:34 AM
# Lance Robinson said:

I totally agree with your decision. I always keep coming back to Bloglines. What bothers me about Bloglines is the seeming lack of desire to improve and keep it "fresh". But...I have seen referrer strings of a bloglines beta in my logs. Maybe you can get a hold of some beta accounts!

on July 11, 2006 02:17 PM
# Matt said:

Irony. Yahoo guy's blog, talking about his attempt to use Google's alternative to the only Yahoo service I actually still use on a regular basis.

I gave Google Reader a test drive, but found its user interaction model to be just as utterly incompatible with my workflow pattern as the overwhelming majority of standalone readers are. Throw in the requirement for AJAX support (my preferred browser still doesn't, nor do mobile devices) and it's 100% useless to me.

I may eventually reimplement a workalike system of my own, but until then, I'm sticking with the RSS reader built in to MyYahoo. :)

I have yet to understand why people seem to think an RSS reader needs its own rich user interface (and hence a desktop or AJAX app). It's a list of links to HTML pages on the web, people! Interacting with that effectively has been a solved problem for a decade now.

on July 12, 2006 02:36 AM
# Bill Brown said:

I'll second reBlog. I switched from Bloglines because it was taking me forever to get through my feeds and that aspect of the Lifehacker writeup appealed to me. I also got sick and tired of looking at the stupid plumber. I haven't looked back since.

on July 12, 2006 12:23 PM
# Arjun said:

Bloglines rulez! :)...

bloglines had some technical problems couple of weeks back, and for a couple of days, I tried to use Google reader and planned to switch to it. But it was a nightmare. Too random. Too much of clicks.

Luckily, bloglines was back to normal very soon!! Its better they totally redo the reader.

on July 12, 2006 12:36 PM
# BillyG said:

I've posted in several places recently that I hate how they tell me what feed I am going to read next, vs. me being able to select my next feed a'la folders (think BlogLines). This keepS the line of thought much more concise and not al over tHe place.

I did give it a look just this morning, and see that it is better than it was on last gander a few weeks ago as far as the feed management goes, but they aren't there yet; I'm sticking with BlogLines for now. Heck, maybe they'll even have slow-arsed AJAX before Google gets their UI straight.

(speaking of, I can't even thnk of a site that has their AJAX implementation not hanging up my FF browser, including the Y! mail site *I'm sticking with the old version even though I have converted to GMail as of last month for my main account since I kept losing emails from school via Y!, GMail, and now the horrible digg UI, that luckily I usually just skim the feed read of in BlogLines... AJAX AIN'T EVERYTHING!)

on July 12, 2006 02:46 PM
# Mihai Parparita said:

Hi Jeremy,

Perhaps this experiment could be re-attempted with the new UI that we launched today?

Mihai Parparita
Google Reader Engineer

on September 28, 2006 09:21 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

It certainly will. I'll give it a spin next week. What I've seen so far looks quite good.

on September 28, 2006 09:24 PM
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